8th February 2023
07 February 2023, NOTTINGHAM: Foresight Group (“Foresight”), a leading listed private equity and infrastructure investment manager, has announced an additional £1 million growth capital investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (“MEIF”) into ReadyGo Diagnostics Limited (“ReadyGo” or “the Company”), a start-up diagnostics business that detects infectious diseases.
In March 2021, MEIF invested £300,000 into Bedford based ReadyGo to support the technical development of its innovative diagnostics pen and assays plus early commercialisation of its sample preparation device, the Snapshot™. MEIF’s investment was alongside £550,000 of co-investment from existing angel investors managed by Bamburgh Capital.
Following Foresight’s investment, founder and CEO, Dr Ben Cobb, has continued to lead the development activities, delivering meaningful technical achievements. Chair, Elaine Warburton OBE, has played a central role in driving the business forward and progressing key commercial opportunities. Considerable progress has also been made across ReadyGo’s three main growth value drivers: the integrated diagnostic testing pen; underlying molecular chemistries; and Snapshot™, the Company’s standalone sample preparation device.
Initially adapted to detect infectious diseases in response to COVID-19, ReadyGo’s testing pen allows for the testing of multiple infections. To develop this product, and to evolve and disrupt the consumer testing market, ReadyGo is offering an isothermal assay development service – consolidating testing into a single integrated platform, making it simpler and more effective for both its products and customers.
The progress of the Snapshot™ device has seen a pre-prototype technical idea developed into a fully functioning commercial device in less than twelve months. Compared with conventional lateral flow, molecular and sequencing devices – which consumers became use to during COVID19 – this device is quicker, easier to use and less invasive than existing conventional swabs.
The Company’s sustainability goals have been addressed by using fewer component parts. This reduces the amount of plastic used and required transportation - making it more convenient and cheaper to supply when compared with conventional testing kits.
The additional investment from MEIF – in tandem with £500,000 from existing shareholders – will be used to invest in a commercial team alongside recruiting more junior technical resources to support Dr Ben Cobb. This will increase the R&D capacity, enable more rapid progression of the chemistry and optimise the Company’s products for diagnostic applications.
Commenting on the latest investment, Dr Ben Cobb, CEO of ReadyGo Diagnostics Limited, said: “Since Foresight’s initial investment our company has made exciting strides towards making Snapshot™, our sample collection device, widely available to the diagnostics industry. The additional support we’ve received from our expanded team has been crucial to the progress we’ve made, and this latest investment round means this is a thrilling time for our business. Our goal of achieving a fundamental change in the way molecular diagnostics can be delivered to a consumer market is now even closer thanks to the support shown to us by the brilliant team at Foresight.”
Line Kristine Gauteplass, Investment Manager at Foresight, added: “The progress ReadyGo has made in a short time both in terms of technical development and tangible commercial opportunities is impressive. Foresight’s investment will allow this excellent business to enhance its R&D and commercial capacity and accelerate its development of products that will have a significant impact across healthcare.”
Mark Wilcockson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “One of the MEIF’s key objectives is backing innovation in the Midlands and ReadyGo is a perfect example of an innovative start-up offering new solutions, which has received additional funding to support the creation of new job roles for the region.”
Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Supporting R&D in life sciences is a UK-wide priority, in recognition of the transformative changes to people’s lives enabled by innovation in this field. We’re delighted that a Bedford-based business is benefitting from MEIF investment to commercialise new technologies in diagnostics. This is an area fundamental to a rapid response to overcoming complex conditions and wider challenges in health and wellbeing.”
In calendar year 2022, Foresight made over 90 investments into SMEs and, since launching MEIF in 2018, Foresight has supported 28 SMEs in the East and South East Midlands. Foresight, in partnership with MEIF, supports promising SMEs to achieve their business objectives and has enabled over 350 high-quality, local jobs to be created to date.
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (“ERDF”) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
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